Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hood to Coast Recap: Nuun Platuun ...

Location: Mt. Hood, OR to Seaside, OR (200 miles)
Date: 8/26/11 - 8/27/11
Temperature: variable
Official Time: 27:59:17 (average pace of 8:24 per mile)
Place in Division: 10/39 (Womens Open)
Overall Place: 311/1268

I am 100% positive that this recap will not do justice to the experience that I had at Hood to Coast. In fact, I'm not even sure that I can accurately express how monumental the entire event is or how amazing the Nuun staff is. You have to experience it for yourself. The great parts were fantastic. The good parts were great. And the bad parts weren't really all that bad. Even the lack of sleep and real food weren't horrible. I'd do it all again, right this very instant, if given the opportunity.

The Good:

Nuun: Not only did Nuun sponsor both Nuun Platuun and AfterNUUN Delite (think all race logistics taken care off, more Nuun than you could ever drink, wicked cute gear, etc), but the Nuun staff was AMAZING. They were friendly and welcoming, and at least in my van, put up with all of our crazy antics. I returned home wishing that Nuun was headquartered in Richmond, because it would be an awesome company to work for. (Note: I also wish that all my nuun-mates lived in Richmond. That would be EPIC.)

The numerous companies that hooked us up: In addition to Nuun, there were several other companies that showed Nuun Platuun some love. All of the SWAG we received, rocked my socks and it would be totally worth your while to check these fine companies out.The Course: Not only is Hood to Coast, the Mother of all Relays, but the views are FANTASTIC. Even the overnight legs (with the exception of those on gravel) were beautiful.

My Nuun-mates: Wicked Awesome. That is all.

Spreading the Nuun Love: As Nuun Ambassadors, it was our job to spread the Nuun Love during the race. At the major exchanges, transitions and even Quiznos, we handed out samples, applied tattoos and informed our fellow athletes about Nuun and all of it's awesomeness.

And I LOVED EVERY SECOND of it. I was totally in my element. And I couldn't get enough. It made me realize that I need a job that lets me engage with other people while working with something that I truly believe in. So, Nuun, if you're looking for someone to run your Southeast Sample Team, give me a call.

My First Leg (#11): I lucked out on the timing of my legs, with my first run starting at sunset. Talk about beautiful. And although it was slightly warmer than I would have hoped, I crushed it. When I finished the mostly flat run, my Garmin read 38:14 for 4.87 miles (7:51 pace). A new 8K PR by 44 seconds.

My Second Leg (#23): This leg shouldn't really be in the "Good" category. It should be in the FREAKING AWESOME category. 4.14 miles of small rollers, hidden in the massive trees of the Pacific Northwest on a very crisp morning. It was the single most perfect run of my entire running career. I ran fast and hard and could have kept going. I finished the leg 31:47 after I took off (7:40 pace) and hit the 4 mile mark at 30:47, 1:26 faster than I'd ever run 4 miles before. I wish I could have bottled up that leg.

Our Driver/Coach, Casey: Fueled with endless energy (without caffeine, by the way), Casey drove our van, recorded our splits, kept us realistic and optimistic from start to finish, and tolerated all of our insanity (and trust me, we weren't tame) without a SINGLE SECOND of sleep.

And as if he wasn't already awesomesauce, with just about 3 miles left in my last leg, he jumped out of the van and helped me and my suffering quad make it to the exchange. Total rock star.

The Memories/Inside Jokes: There were so many moments that I want to share here, but it would be futile. Anyone outside of our van, or perhaps our team, wouldn't really "get" what happened or how hilarious the members of Nuun Platuun are (Note: We created new words and laughed until it hurt). But, I will say that I cherish EVERY SINGLE SECOND of this journey and would highly recommend that EVERYONE run a relay at some point. All of the "hard parts" are worth it.

The Bad:

The Weather: It was unseasonably warm. Like Virginia warm. Enough said.

My Disorganization: I am a little OCD. I pack and I repack. I rarely forget things. But the biggest mistake I made during Hood to Coast was not packing each outfit in Ziploc bags. I felt like I was constantly digging for and losing things.


Minimal Interaction: Going into this event, I assumed that both Nuun teams would be hanging out all the time. But, in actuality, I barely saw anyone from AfterNUUN delite and I didn't really get to spend a good amount of time with Van 1 of Nuun Platuun until the post-race party. It was one of those logistical things about relay races that I just didn't consider.

The Ugly:

My Third Leg (#35): During my first wicked awesome leg, I tweaked my quad. THE QUAD. Immediately after, I said to Jess that I felt like I had pulled a lot harder with one leg than the other. I tried to loosen up the quad during our "rest" period, but when I started leg 2, it was still sore. But then, I crushed leg 2. Unfortunately, I also crushed my quad.

Seven hours later, when I was about to start my third leg, it hurt to get out of the van. I planned to run as strong as I could, but I didn't really know how it would go. The first 4 miles were great. I was averaging an 8:38 pace. And then the climbs came. And my quad failed. I ended up walk/running the next two miles, before Casey convinced me to push it to the finish.

I handed off to XL MIC, after 8 miles and 1:19:57. She ran to the finish line and I ran to the medic tent. (Note: I'm better. Not 100% better, but better than I was).

Missing the Finish: As soon as I got back from the medic tent, we headed out to try to make it to the beach to see XL MIC finish. We made it like half a mile and hit bumper-to-bumper traffic (something that occurred pretty much the whole race). It took us over two hours to make it the six miles to the beach. Such a bummer.

Our Van Guest: Don't ask. Let's just say, our "guest" was a total fail.

Thanks again to all of the wonderful people at Nuun for allowing me to be a part of this EPIC event. I've already got it marked down on my calendar for next year. I'm grandfathered in, right?

33 comments:

Anne said...

Wonderful recap! Running a relay is on my list :)

Rachel McPhillips said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience! So sorry you got a little injured, but glad to hear you are better! I am really enjoying reading everyone's re-caps!

Sarah said...

Loved all the tweets from the relay. :-) Congrats on the big PR!
I hope your quad feels better soon!

Canuck Mom said...

Awesome!! I would so love to meet all you ladies. It would be nice to live around you all and run with you. I have no running mates in my town and you ladies seem totally awesome!! Congrats on the great run and get some rest. Let that quad heal.

Deb said...

Wow! Sounds really awesome! Glad to hear it went so well.

MotherRunner said...

This sounds amazing. I love relays but have never done longer than marathon distance.

Maybe Nuun wants to sponsor some Midwest bloggers at the Madison-Chicago relay!

kimert said...

I love all these recaps! Sounds like a fabulous event!

bobbi said...

Sounds like such a freaking awesome experience - I've loved living vicariously through all of you.

(am I the only one who REALLY wants more "van guest" info? :P )

Jesser said...

Dude ... leaving us hanging on the van "guest" ... NOT COOL. Complaining aside, thanks much for the recap. This sounds like such a fun race!! For the last two years the guys in my office have run the Wild West Relay (get your ass over the pass) here in CO and this year they asked me to join ... I didn't b/c of calendar logistics, and I'm still not sure 24 hours straight with 11 guys from my office is a SWELL idea, but I would love to run a relay and I was thinking of getting a girls team together next year ... some girls from my crossfit gym and some running buds. Wanna come to CO? ;)

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

After those killer legs, I can see why your quad was rebelling!

You did a great job recapping what was probably an unexplainable experience. I love your last line! I hope it hold true for you...but by then you might just be working for Nuun! ;-)

Lisa said...

I LOVED meeting you and getting to know you a little. I wish I could have spent more time with you.

This is a great recap. I am struggling trying to get my brain around it all to write up a cohesive post. Yours did it nicely. I am glad I am not the only one who feels that words can't do the experience justice. I think that Nuun created something special with this event. I have read dozens of relay recaps and none have expressed the awesomeness that all of us are expressing. While I really want to do this again, I am not sure it can be duplicated. Know what I mean?

Margs @ Faster Bunny said...

Ahhh I had no idea you kicked so much butt on your first two legs! Congrats! And yeah...definitely too bad we didn't get to hang out more. :).

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Great recap!

I am not surprised that the single most perfect run of your running career happened in Oregon! Now, come back and run a half with me sometime. Oh, and bring G, because I love her.

Morgan said...

So. Much. Fun. I can only imagine all the randomness that took place in those vans with a bunch of chick bloggers!!! Having run a few Ragnar's I know that inside the van gets crazy and you end up leaving the weekend with the code of Vegas "What happened in the van, stays in the van" but mostly because, no one would ever understand. So glad you had a blast and happy to hear the leg is doing better! The last leg is always tough, no matter how much you plan for it and you guys had such a challenging course!!! Rest up girly!!!

Average A said...

I had no idea you crushed your runs by so much -- one of those van disconnects, I guess. Great job! :) it's interesting to see how everyone is re-capping their experience; I don't even know what to say, so I think I'll leave my blog blank for a while. :)

DEM said...

Great recap! I love the breakdown of good, bad, ugly - I hope the quad is feeling better and you are back out on the roads!

BTW, way to CRUSH leg #2, rockstar!

Bethany + Ryan said...

Glad you had a such a great time! It looked like SO much fun, i was following along on fb. I LOVE Nuun!!
Way to go with your legs, amazing times!!! I hope your quad feels better soon. At least you got in some good training before it happened. take it easy! Congrats!

Julie D. said...

ok, your van driver sounds like he was the coolest thing since sliced bread....NO SLEEP at all? he rocks. What a great relay. Can't believe I live here and have never done it. Must do it next year. For sure!! Way to rock your legs. So sorry about your quad. hope you are completely healed up soon!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

You did fabulous T!! So thankful to share this experience with you!!!!!

Jen said...

wonderful recap!!! Loved reading it, thank you for sharing.

Fruit Fly said...

Even with your cons this still sounds like an AWESOME experience! Congrats on being part of such a cool team and race ... and on surviving, even with the quad problems!

Marlene said...

Oh come on, you can't drop a bomb like that and not spill (the "guest").

This sounds sooo incredibly awesome. I'm jealous but thrilled for all of you!

Way to crush those legs!!!

track coach and adorable wife said...

I would defintely love to run a relay, and if it was H to C all the better! I'm glad you had such an amazing experience and two killer legs! Hope your leg heals up well.

Stephanie Anne said...

Great recap, I am so jealous!! Looks like you guys had a BLAST!!

Becka said...

Sounds really fun! Hope to do this one day.

Molly said...

What an experience you had!! Hope the quad is feeling better!

The Jesse said...

what a great recap and an amazing experience you had! it sounds like so much fun and like you and your teammates had a blast! sure hope the quad is feeling better ASAP.

ajh said...

I am loving reading these recaps. Your second leg sounds unreal.

Colleen said...

Wow... sounds like an adventure you'll never forget! :)

Wifey said...

ABSOLUTE AWESOMENESS!

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

MCM Mama said...

Way to crush your first two legs! Hope the quad is feeling better.

Jessica said...

Thanks to all your talk about your NUUN platuun relay stuff, I am totally addicted to NUUN now!! It has definately helped me NOT feel like I'm running through the desert and has cured a hang over (Hey the website says it works for that too!) It's tasty, and I love that it has no sugar!! It makes drinking water so much easier, and I feel so much better hydrated! Thanks a ton! Love your blog, and your inspiration....my new goal in life is to run with a jogging stroller (when I have babies of course) and to never let my kids be an excuse for not running. You rock Tonia!!

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